A New Fable: The Tale Of The Two Windows

Copyright © 2019 Robert Spencer Knotts All rights reserved

This is the 12th in a series of original modern fables for parents and other adults, created and copyrighted by Humanity Project Founder, Bob Knotts. They are short, fun, fictional tales that can be shared with older kids to teach important lessons about helping others. Each story also includes a simple moral at the end, as fables have done for centuries. You can find the other fables on our website at this link: Read the first 11 fables. Please enjoy them!

The Tale of the Two Windows

A fable by

Robert Spencer Knotts

Look!

Two windows.

In different rooms.

Both above the playground.

With children outdoors, many laughters.

Together they joyful play.

Or maybe not.

Most curious …

Look!

Oh yes, yes, oh yes yes yes yes yes. This was a scene most indeed curious to see, this was yes indeed.

Waldo had seen this curiosity indeed now for some many months or more. And each time Waldo saw, oh yes, the curiosity caught his breath up in some snort of surprisement yet again.

Two windows. Different rooms, yes, same scene below.

Or maybe not.

Hmmmmm …

You see, Waldo’s curious seeings started something like this, yes, just exactly like this those seeings began. Because Waldo woke up on one extrashiny morning as the sun in narrow lightslivers slipped between his slatted blinds, all the new day’s brightlight filtering inside among the slats to poke Waldo awake warmly on both his sleeping eyelids.

Despite this distinctly sunwarmed wakening, Waldo soon felt distinctly unsunny.

Scowling and scratching the scruffy mornstubble of his beard, he pulled a thin white cord to raise the slatted blinds of the bedroom window. Peering squinteyed through the sunwarmth, Waldo peeked down at a playground mostly unsunny to see, oh yes a playscene below quite plainly playless.

Oh no, oh yes yes indeed.

The unplaying children smiled little, smiled hardly at all. Quite listless, quite playless, five boys tossed a ball. Four girls just ran round in a small silly ring. Three kids more found some sour song to sing. Two teachers, it seemed, were both bored to tears. And one lost lonely child sat huddled by fears.

Shaking his scowl and scraping his scratch, Waldo unwelcomed the long day ahead – yes the endless workingday at a workingplace not much unlike that playground below him. All the playless hours to come in his unfun office cubicle, with Waldo himself all fullup with feelings quite listless and bored quite to tears. Unwelcome thoughts indeed as Waldo walked a few short steps down the short narrow hallway toward his short kitchen for coffee. Espresso, short.

And then, well, it happened.

Yes, this was when Waldo curiously peeked curiously through the round window in the square kitchen wall. Peeked down at that same playground he’d peeked only one short moment ago, peeked first now then peered next until both his scowl and his scratch had nearly fallen off his face.

He saw five beaming boys, so strong, playing catch. Four girls raced round in a short footrace match. Three choirkids practiced some sweet ancient song. Two teachers both cried from laughing too long. And that boy? He hunched over a big frog that he’d found, a frog hopping happily through that sunwarmed playground.

Hmmmmm …

Two windows. Different rooms, no yes, same scene below.

Or maybe not.

Same ball yes, same running path yes. Same kids, same teachers too. All, all, all, all just exactly the same through this window, then through that.

But then, no, of course the same not at all.

First unhappy below, then happy.

First joyless children, then joyful.

How could just the same all suddenly seem just so different?

Yes, even his hearings had so changed from one window to the next with one same sound sounding so sourly through this, so sweetly through that. Yes, just the same child soundings separated only by short seconds and short footsteps of floor.

Waldo sat down with his coffee, most indeed curiously confused. And he thought back on what had come to him through the two windows.

Unhappy, then happy. Joyless, then joyful.

How curious yes, Waldo wondered during some coffeesipping and then some soapshowering as he prepared for work. All all so curious, yes, it seemed all so curious indeed as Waldo somehow found himself with no scowl at all now, no scratch at all either. And then undreading the long day ahead, he soon hustled off to his workingplace through the sunwarmth outside.

And so things went on for some many months or more. First seeing this, then seeing that outside his two windows. Hearing sourly hearings here, followed by sweetly hearings there. Not always only playground children either, but windowseeings and windowhearings of rainstorms and roadtraffic, of songbirds and spanielwalkers.

Each time both scenes outside the two windows just exactly the same.

But each time each scene outside the two windows just exactly as different as each time before.

Here unhappy, there happy.

Here joyless.

There joyful.

Day after day after day, his apartment’s two windows revealed two worlds to Waldo. Day after day after day, Waldo never could decide which of these two worlds was true, which world real.

Was it all a place of sadness down below him, grim and grimacing, everyone scowling and scratching to endure the endless unplayful hours? Or was it a place of energies and enthusiasms, with songsweet laughter bubbling effervescent through roadtraffic and rainstorms, all playful to cheer the songbirds and spanielwalkers alike?

Once himself outdoors down below the two windows, Waldo could never decide which was what. Day after day after day Waldo walked down the walk beside the roadtraffic, through the rainstorms, passing beneath the songbirds and passing past the spanielwalkers with Waldo himself all fullup of feelings indeed most curious. And mostly quite confused. Even his cubicled workingplace seemed different now somehow – but why, and how?

The which and the what, the why and the how of it all seemed ever as muddled as ever before.

And then, well, it happened.

Because one day after one day and another day, Waldo found one most curious wondering among the many wonders that wound through Waldo’s own head. Yes, one day Waldo himself snorted in surprisement over this most curious wonder: “Maybe both the unhappy and the happy, yes, maybe both were both always there. On the playground, in the rainstorms and the roadtraffic and all the rest. Joyless and joyful both always both just as real! Hmmmm … I wonder why I never noticed before?”

The why and the how and the which and the what of it all, Waldo never could quite explain. But instantly he just knew it was all so. And Waldo would never let himself unknow all the two windows had taught him for some many months or more.

Yes, Waldo always had found just what he wanted to find below a windowpane. No, it was no difference below now making those two windowscenes unsame. He could find the world scowling, much like Waldo’s own scowls. Uncuriously all playless with soursongs sounding like howls. Or he could find the world playful with sweetsongs of joys. Curiously no scowlseeings to see with no hearings of noise.

Playless and sour.

Or playful and sweet.

Waldo decided this hour by hour when up looking out windows or down walking the street.

He could hear it all just as noise or could hear it just as all song – and not one of his hearings really was wrong. Just the same with his seeings, both unhappy and happy were real there outside. But which seeings he saw there he’d somehow decide.

A snort of surprisement seems a wise way to react when two different windows show two quite different facts.

Yes, all joyful the play there! Or no, maybe not.

People can only discover outside them, yes, the things inside them they've already got.

Moral: The world always has both good and bad but we decide which one most influences our life.

Yay For Loud Sisters!

They call it, “Loud Sisters.” We call it … cool!

And we are thrilled to announce a new partnership with this wonderful company, which donates a hefty percentage of sales dollars to charity. Nonprofits that, yes, now include the Humanity Project.

See that design in the pic above? That’s the first original design to benefit us. It’s now available on a wide range of shirts through the Loud Sisters Shop: Click here for the Loud Sisters stardust page. You also can learn more about Loud Sisters and find their many other designs on both Facebook (click to visit the Loud Sisters Facebook page) and Instagram (click to visit the Loud Sisters Instagram page).

How cool is that? An awesome reminder that everyone is, well, awesome!


Molly Seabrook is the creative and socially conscious entrepreneur who founded and runs Loud Sisters — an amazing woman of many talents who has lived all over the world, including China and Australia. Now based in North Carolina, Molly and her company put out inspiring original designs that promote equal rights. Gender equality is a special concern of Loud Sisters, as it is here at the Humanity Project. Also notice the rainbow cleverly worked into the Loud Sisters stardust design, a nod to the LGBTQ community that the Humanity Project supports actively. We think Loud Sisters and the Humanity Project are a natural partnership. One more thing worth knowing about the new Loud Sisters design above, “We are all stardust inside.” It’s based on an original color illustration created by one member of the Humanity Project’s all-girl student leader team, the Humanity Club. So we must offer a shoutout to Alexis, a very bright 5th grade student who came up with the concept. Our Humanity Club program teaches children that every human being is made mostly of stardust, something science knows to be true. Elements in our bodies such as carbon, iron and oxygen can’t be made any other way than during the extreme process of fusion within stars. That fact inspires children to understand every human being is equally valuable.

And now it’s also inspired Loud Sisters to help the Humanity Project help more kids by providing much-needed new funding. A big thank you to Molly and Loud Sisters! We are very grateful …

The Humanity Project Store!

A screen capture of our new online store, which links with the “Store” page on this website

For at least the past ten years of our 13-year existence, the Humanity Project has wanted to run an online store. Until now, it wasn’t possible.

But today it’s not only possible, it’s a reality. The new Humanity Project Store, hosted by our partners at Cafe Press, offers a wide range of inspiring gift items with unique Humanity Project artwork on the front. You’ll find t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, bumper stickers, keychains, holiday ornaments, caps, even flip-flops. Click this link to go directly to the online Humanity Project Store!

A sizeable portion of every sale goes directly to our programs for children and parents. So you’re not only buying gifts that celebrate your values, you’re helping us to help many more kids and adults at the same time.

Cafe Press is known for its high-quality merchandise, great customer service, no-questions return policy and safe online purchasing. Once in our store, just click on an image to look through the broad variety of Humanity Project gift items. We are excited to add this new feature for our many Humanity Project supporters, sponsors, donors, friends and followers — and we think you’ll be impressed with the selections and one-of-a-kind designs. Please explore, shop and share the link with friends and family. We really appreciate it!

You Are Stardust

Hubble telescope image courtesy of NASA

How do you teach a young child concepts such as the importance of respect for every individual, the value of diversity and the need for self-worth? Ideas that even many adults couldn’t explain clearly …

At the Humanity Project, we teach through play: videos, music, games, roleplaying and more. Art inspires the emotion that helps concepts to stick in the mind. One of our arts-based ideas for teaching also is science-based. We show kids that among the many reasons each person deserves respect is this amazing fact: Most of the materials inside every human being are formed from stardust. Literally. Science knows that elements such as carbon, oxygen, iron and nearly everything else that makes up you and all of us can only be manufactured by the extreme temperatures created within stars.

That’s an extraordinary notion to learn — for kids and adults both. And so we suggest you check out our latest video, just posted on the Humanity Project YouTube channel. It is called simply, “You Are Stardust.” Watch the video!

It’s short, it’s engaging, it’s factual … and offers us one more way to connect with kids. It was made with help from our Humanity Club girls at Morrow Elementary, many of them appearing in the video. And now they will help us bring the video and a short talk about this topic to every student in their school, classroom by classroom. The goal is to encourage the entire student body to treat everyone in school with respect, part of our year-long Humanity Club project at Morrow. Kids teaching kids, kids helping kids … That’s what we do at the Humanity Project.

Imagine ...

Imagine… Imagine a diverse group of adults, all working toward the same goal of helping kids — entirely without pay of any kind. Imagine that these folks actually all get along, genuinely enjoy each other’s company, consider themselves an extended family. And imagine that they really do make a demonstrable difference in the life of thousands of children (and parents too) each year.

Welcome to the Humanity Project!

We think you can tell an awful lot about any organization by getting to know the people who do the work. So in this post, we’re offering some photos to show you a bit more of our team. These pics were taken at the mid-December Humanity Project Holiday Party, which we held for free at Insight for the Blind. (Our Board of Directors VP is Matt Corey, who is CEO of Insight for the Blind. Matt kindly offered his lovely offices for our party.) Take a look for yourself. You’ll get a better idea who we are at the Humanity Project. And don’t miss the below link to our video, which shows some of us singing our version of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Imagine that …

Some Humanity Project Board of Directors and Leadership Council members (& friends) sing “Imagine.”

New Members Of Our Team

Welcome to the Humanity Project, Sasha Medvinsky and Victoria!

Meet our newest Leadership Council parent-child team.

Sasha was born and raised in Ukraine, leaving for Florida in 1992. She’s a registered nurse who manages Outpatient Services in the Pediatric Ambulatory Department of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. Her daughter, Victoria, is an honor roll student and a recognized leader in her school, often fundraising for causes that help children in need.

Of course, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is a longtime sponsor of the Humanity Project. So we think Sasha’s involvement with the Humanity Project seems especially appropriate.

Our Leadership Council was formed several years ago to serve as an in-house consulting and creative group of parents who partner with their child, collectively offering guidance to make sure our programs become even more kid-friendly and parent-friendly too. Since then we’ve added key new members to that team. We know Sasha and Victoria will bring their experience and talents to our work now — and we’re grateful.

We think of the Humanity Project as a family: not only our Board of Directors and Leadership Council but also our great volunteers and the many students and teachers and administrators who work with us closely. Together, we help kids to help kids. Together, we really do make a difference.

To Get Respect, Give Respect

The Humanity Club at Morrow Elementary

The Humanity Project believes that for people to get respect, they first must give respect. Always, in every situation, unconditionally. That doesn’t mean being weak. It means treating every human being as just that: a human being.

We teach this to our kids as well as to parents busy raising their own children. And it applies in the schools, online, on the roads. Everywhere.

During the Humanity Club presentation on respect: a Native American tale

On November 16, our Humanity Club at Morrow Elementary School in North Lauderdale, Florida demonstrated for nearly 400 of their classmates, grades K - 5, what respect really means. It was a huge success! Through interactive exercises, skits, music, videos and more, our amazing group of 10 Humanity Club all-girl student leaders marked the path toward a more respectful learning environment. Their classmates were receptive and now many of them will take part in ongoing art projects and contests focused on respect — even a Garden of Respect that the Humanity Project will build for the school with students closely involved in both planning and execution. That garden will be funded in part by a new grant from Children’s Services Council of Broward County and we’ll tell you more about it next month.

During Text-4-RESPECT

That same day, the Humanity Project also led a Text-4-RESPECT campaign, with students at Morrow and other schools as well as nonprofit partners texting #respect at noon local time. This was intended as a follow up to the morning Humanity Club program … and as a tribute to the great Aretha Franklin, who passed away in August. In Detroit, Ms. Franklin’s church where she began singing (and her father was longtime preacher) even joined the event. As did nonprofits and individuals from as far away as Brazil, Italy, Switzerland, New Jersey and many other spots.

All this took place on the 10th anniversary of the day when the Humanity Project led the Thousand Youth March for Humanity: November 16, 2008. That was the nation’s first mass children’s march against bullying with more than 2,100 participants. And it’s the reason the week of November 16 each year is antibullying week in Broward County Public Schools, the sixth largest school district in the United States.

Yes, we do believe that to get respect, we must each give respect. It’s encouraging that so many of our young students agree, don’t you think?

Humanity Club: Respect ... & Fun

Take a look through these pics, snapped just yesterday as we write this blog. They will tell you all you need to know about our Humanity Club at Morrow Elementary School in North Lauderdale, Florida.

Well, not ALL you need to know. But a lot anyway.

You can see in them our great student leaders, having lots of laughs as they learn how to teach lessons of respect to the entire Morrow student population. Through these girls, the Humanity Project promotes respect for all, the value of diversity, the importance of self-worth … as well as gender equality. Girls in leadership roles. Our program is effective, engaging and downright fun. See for yourself — just check out more photos below. Thanks!


Wow! New Website 4 Parents Of Teen Drivers!

Please don’t spend a lot of time reading this blog, OK? We’re going to keep it very brief …

Why? So instead you can spend some time exploring our brand new resource: “The Humanity Project 4 Parents.” It’s a fun, funny and educational website for parents of teen drivers, an interactive online workshop that teaches rather than preaches. You’ll see what we mean if you check it out: Visit the new thp4parents website!

An alternative SF logo THUMBNAIL -- new Jan 2015.jpg

The site was made possible by generous funding from our great friends, and very good neighbors, at State Farm. At www.thp4parents.com you’ll find the information and tools to help you make sure your teen driver comes home in one piece — and you do too. It’s all about #respectontheroads … So yes, head over to the new site now, if you would be so kind. And please pass along the link to some parents who can use it.

Something Special On TV (and in a podcast too)

The Humanity Project has been featured many times on television, radio and online. Our latest offerings come to you by way of a 15-minute television segment with Humanity Project Founder Bob Knotts, hosted by Miami broadcast personality, Tamara G.

You’ll hear discussions about our programs, especially our antibullying efforts. And some thoughts about the bullying so prevalent in today’s society. Click here to watch the program on Facebook.

We also have posted a new podcast, A Special Day Of Helping. It’s a discussion mainly focused on the annual national holiday called Good Neighbor Day, started in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter. Our guest is Jose Soto, a wonderful friend of the community and a top State Farm official in Florida. Jose also is a close friend of the Humanity Project and a frequent guest on our popular podcast. Click here to listen to the podcast on this website.

We think you’ll enjoy both shows. And we hope you’ll pass along the links to your friends and family. As always, we appreciate you letting others know about our free programs and materials. Thank you!

UNICEF Report: School Bullying Is Rampant Worldwide

Bullying is worse, not better. But there is hope. 

UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, just released a major report on childhood bullying worldwide. It found that about half of children ages 13 to 15 throughout the globe say they have experienced peer-to-peer violence in and around school. That's 150 million kids. As one UNICEF official who contributed to the report said, "Schools are not as safe as they should be because of bullying, because of corporal punishment by teachers, because of attacks on schools." The report adds that the estimated monetary cost of violence against children in all countries is $7 trillion.

However, the same UNICEF official noted that more children are speaking out against bullying and more teachers are being trained to deal with it. "We have reasons to be optimistic that violence will be recognized as a problem in schools and addressed soon," she said. Self-reported peer violence stands at around 50% in most of the nations studied -- with the U.S. rate slightly lower at 48%. The report is based on data from 122 countries, which are home to 51% of the world's population of children ages 13 to 15.

At the Humanity Project, we see this major report as more proof of the need for increased efforts of all kinds to stop school bullying. We have sensed a growing misunderstanding of the issue in the United States in recent months, a feeling that the serious problem of school bullying is less common now than before. Some folks seem to feel we've won that war. In fact, school bullying is more common today, according to U.S.-based studies and anecdotal reports. These include recent discussions by Humanity Project officials with school administrators, teachers and counselors. LGBTQ students are among the most frequent targets, a school population that is disproportionately bullied. The Southern Poverty Law Center says research consistently shows that “virtually every LGBT student experiences bullying at school.”

The Humanity Project's acclaimed Antibullying Through The Arts and Humanity Club programs have been shown to be effective in helping to curb school bullying -- but in the past several months, we have received somewhat less funding than in 2017 to deliver these free programs to schools and organizations that need them. In light of the new UNICEF report, we are hopeful these funds will be restored soon as more people recognize that bullying hasn't ended in the schools. And that our work as a society to stop school bullying is far, far from over. 

Did You Know ... (Some surprising facts about us)

We are very proud of our organization. The Humanity Project helps kids to help kids (and sometimes parents) through our innovative programs that teach respect in many areas of daily life, including at school, at home and on the road. But did you know these cool facts about the Humanity Project?

  • We are almost 13-years-old! (November is our birthday.)
  • Our Board of Directors and Leadership Council both boast folks with some impressive experience! (See for yourself by opening the "Meet The Team" tab on our website menu.)
  • We created, organized and led the nation's first mass children's march against bullying! (Yep, November 2008. Here's a link to a video that shows the amazing event: Watch the video!)
  • We have nine active social media pages, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube!
  • In addition to our main website, we also operate two more websites, with a third on the way! (www.thehumanityproject.com/icare ... www.thp4kids.com ... and soon a website just for parents of teen drivers.)
  • Our thp4kids site includes a 24-hour professionally staffed hotline in partnership with organizations such as Covenant House and Boys Town!
  • Our sponsors are loyal year after year and include many significant organizations from the business and nonprofit worlds, including State Farm, Google, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, Our Fund, Children's Services Council of Broward County and many others! 
  • We have a PeacePage on our website with contributions from nonprofits and individuals on every continent, including Antarctica! It beautifully conveys real aspects of our common humanity: Visit the PeacePage.
  • We teach the importance of respect, diversity and self-worth through arts-based programs, each with all-original materials including music, videos, roleplaying, games and other engaging elements!

There's much more to know about the Humanity Project. But we thought these tidbits might be of interest for now. We encourage you to explore our websites and social media -- and to learn more about our free programs. And please consider joining our efforts to make this world a more respectful place.